"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the five stars

The Five Stars: Emison, Tony, Rose, Claire and Oscar

I just realized I have been blogging for seven years. My first post was 9/23/06. Man oh man.

But the really cool realization of the day is that over the course of these seven years, a lot has changed for the children at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage. A LOT.

Here is a guest post written by Monique Udo, a talented Dutch musician/teacher who first contacted me two years ago after she found out about Change the Truth via the internet. Monique became a member of one of the CTT teams and has returned on her own several times. She is one of the most dedicated and hard working teachers I've ever met, and she has worked wonders with the young musicians at SMK - primarily the horn players.

This is her account of the rise of five shining stars, two of whom are CTT sponsored students (a third will become a sponsored student when he graduates from primary school this December).

I love this story. I love that it is a true story. And I love that I can share it with you because of this whacky, wonderful world of blogging.





The story of The Five Stars.

It’s hard to believe that is was only August 2011 when Tony, Oscar and Emison blew their first tones on the saxophone and even more difficult to believe that Rose and Claire started only one year ago…

This is how it all started: in 2011 I came to SMK for three weeks and taught the three boys the basics of saxophone playing and note reading.  How these guys were eager to learn! In the morning they would show up early at my door, ready to play, and only when it became dark, we would stop. After three weeks, it was clear that I planted seeds in fertile soil and that we would be on a journey together.

In December 2011, I came back, together with CTT Team 5, and took it from were we left it in August. That Christmas, at the talent show, I played Hava Nagila with Tony and Oscar and I could feel the power of these young players very clearly as they went into playing the song faster and faster. Some time after this visit, I suggested to Tony, in a telephone conversation, that it would be nice to form a bigger saxophone group. I mentioned the names of Rose and Claire as potential members. Later I heard that Tony went ahead, stepped up to the girls and told them that I said that they had to join the saxophone group. Not only did he do that, he started to teach them how to play the sax, with the help of Oscar and Emison. When I came back in August 2012 I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears: Rose was playing the saxophone and sounded like she had been my own pupil for a few years!

Claire was still an absolute beginner at that moment; she needed something to trigger her more.
It came in the possibility for them to go on a trip to Rwanda and join me there in a music week at the Kigali Music School in October 2012.  Again, I was flabbergasted with what they had done, preparing themselves for this trip without me and without much help from anyone. Together they had helped Claire to raise her level, and once settled, Claire was very, very convincing.  Actually, the girls lifted the group to another level with their dancing movements and radiant stage personalities. In preparation for the trip to Rwanda they had chosen a name for themselves: The Five Stars.

And that is exactly what they are. Five shining stars, rising and rising.

During my visit last month, the rollercoaster built up more speed when I introduced them to the famous Ugandan saxophone player and TV personality Isaiah Katumwa. Through him, they got the opportunity to join the boot camp of the Ugandan Talent search, Talent XP. They were introduced as guests (they were too young to enter the competition) of Isaiah Katumwa who is a judge on the show, and they stayed for 5 days in a big mansion in Kampala with the other competitors. On their last day, they performed together with Isaiah before the cameras, the judges and other participants.

I’m sure that they will have more and more beautiful opportunities coming their way, because these five teenagers have got it all: talent, dedication, team spirit, courage and belief in themselves.

- Monique

[If you are a sax player or know a sax player or had a parent who was a sax player or you long to be a sax player or you love jazz or you love young, aspiring musicians or you simply want to lend a helping hand, please contact me ASAP. We have some plans in the works for The Five Stars that involves a bit of a financial investment. If you would like to help (and I guarantee it is the coolest plan ever, and you will love it) please get in touch. I will fill you in. Please email me at gbfeinstein(at)aol(dot)com.]

And now, please enjoy The Five Stars playing "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy":

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